Project Name
Development of Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) methods for the laboratory identification and analysis of urinary tract infections - PCR


Wellcome Trust / NISCHR / Cardiff University – Seed corn / Feasibility Grant

Principal Investigator
Dr Nick Francis

Dr Kathy O’Brien, Dr Clive Gregory, Dr Julian Marchesi

Type of study
Laboratory based


A collaboration between the Institute of Primary Care and Public Health and the School of Biosciences (Microbes, Infection and Communities research group) has produced preliminary data regarding the bacterial diversity in urine samples from children presenting in primary care with acute illness, as determined by the application of PCR based procedures (n=30).  We have developed DNA extraction and PCR techniques to analyse urine, and through the application of pyrosequencing, determined the bacterial species present in the samples of ill children with positive and negative NHS laboratory culture results, and in healthy children. On the basis of these results we have found evidence of potentially pathogenic bacteria in the urine of ill children, which based on current routine culture methods, would remain undetected.

The primary objectives of this project are to:

  1. Identify the microbial diversity present in culture positive and negative urine samples from the EURICA study (children with acute illness), with particular emphasis being given to bacteria that would remain undetected by standard culture based laboratory techniques.
  2. Validate the methods used and investigate the feasibility of a PCR based approach for application in microbiology testing laboratories to determine the presence of specific bacterial species in a UTI in a matter of hours.

Study sponsor
Cardiff University

School role
WSPCR supported

Start date
July 2012

End date
June 2013